allergies, gluten free, Nutrition

Healthy Vegan Carrot/Celebration Cake

This cake isn’t the crisp white that people may be used to with a celebration cake, but then it isn’t full of processed sugar either. I like the rustic look of the icing, and it looks especially pretty when decorated with fresh fruit.  If you just want to eat it as a wholesome but plain carrot cake, make it without the icing, and if you want something extra special for an occasion, double up the recipe.  This cake freezes beautifully without the icing, so you could make one half in advance and make the second half of the cake on another  day.  You can ice the cake while frozen and allow to defrost once the icing is in place.

For the carrot cake:

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 and 1/3 cups grated carrot
  • 1 cup dates
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 medium/large bananas
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • 1 orange (zested and juiced)
  • 1 cup ground walnuts (grind in coffee grinder or food processor)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 cups water

For the icing:

  • 200g dates (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes)
  • Fat from a can of coconut milk (you will need to leave in the fridge overnight so the fat solidifies at the top)
  • Juice of one lemon (optional)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade (fan oven). 180 degrees without a fan.
  • Grease 1 10” cake tin or 2 7” cake tins, and line the bottoms with greaseproof baking paper.
  • Blend banana, oil, dates, vanilla, maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, zest and 1 cup of water (in a blender or food processor). 
  • Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a mixing bowl.
  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then add the walnuts and carrots.
  • Allow to stand for a minute or so, and if the mixture is too dry, add more water, a little at a time.  Remember to not over-beat.
  • Put into the cake pans (I prefer the larger 10 inch pan).  For this larger cake bake for 45-50 minutes before testing. If a toothpick is inserted and doesn’t come out clean, cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  • If using the 7” trays, cook for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • All the cakes to cool on a cooling rack
  • For the icing, blend the dates, coconut milk fat and lemon juice.
  • Once the cake is cooled, decorate with the icing.  You have a few options here:
  1. For the 10 inch cake – simply put the icing on the top and sides, or slice the cake horizontally down the middle and ice the middle of the cake as well as the top and sides.
  2. For the 7 inch cake – ice the top of one cake, then sit the other on top, then ice the top of the second cake and the sides.
  3. For a bigger (celebration) cake, double up on the 10 inch cake recipe (and the frosting recipe), then decorate as for the 7 inch cakes.

You will have plenty of icing left over, and this can used as be a nice dip for apple or pear slices.

NB. You may want to use other gluten free or wholegrain flours, but please be aware that the liquid ratio may change.  Buckwheat tends to soak up quite a lot of water and become quite thick.

cancer, fundraiser, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, personalised nutrition

MacMillan Christmas Health & Wellbeing Event

I’m excited to have been asked by Mel Jones from HMR Community Cancer Service (Living With and Beyond Cancer) to come and do a talk at this MacMillan Fundraiser on Saturday 30th November at Butterworth Hall in Milnrow.

Fundraiser for MacMillan Cancer Support on 30th November

I’ll be talking about how standard Western diet has become a factor in increasing poor health in Western society, and what steps we can take to improve our wellbeing and quality of life. I’ll also be sharing some quick and easy, yet tasty, health-promoting recipes, which are even more vital at Christmas. It’s a time of fun, family, but also increased pressure.

I’ll also have a stall there if you’d like to come and chat with me about your health, dietary habits, or how nutritional therapy could help you.

I really hope to see you there, though I’ll share more on the event nearer the time.

Come along and support a worthy cause!

health, Health and Wellbeing, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, person centred health, personalised nutrition, Wellness

Individuality: The Key to Regaining Power Over Your Health

A major factor in regaining your health is to understand what led you there in the first place 

“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.” 

Hippocrates

I was looking for quotes for a presentation I’m doing in a few weeks and I came across this quote by Hippocrates.

It got me thinking about the clients that come into my clinics and how true this is. How it’s important that each client is the focus of every consultation, not the disease.

So how is this applied exactly?

Any two people can walk through the door with the same condition, but they will be totally different in terms of root cause, personality and therapeutic needs. They will have different issues in their lives, different dietary preferences, different drives, different support networks, different goals. Some people require lots of support outside of the consulting room; others require none.

As a therapist, it’s important for me to recognise these factors and deal with them appropriately – to treat each client, not as a set of symptoms, but as individuals. To see how it is best to serve them, so together we achieve the health goals they wish to reach.

Just like the people who come to see me, the root cause of any symptom is highly individual. One person’s illness may be driven by stress which is undermining their immune or digestive function; another may have a long history of antibiotic use that created a microbiome imbalance; some medications might create nutritional or hormonal imbalances; pain might be exacerbated by previous traumatic events as well as poor diet.

Usually there are a number of factors involved, and it’s up to me to unpick all the information given, and create a plan that, over time, removes all the onion layers of ill health to reveal the heart of better health beneath.

Recognising a person’s individuality is also vital when giving them a plan of action – for some, gentle guidance is better accepted than a long list of changes that can lead to a feeling of overwhelm. Others want a challenge, something they can get their teeth into, where they see instant results.

So my role is to understand what makes each person tick, to be clear about their goals, and to guide them forward in a way that suits them.

It is also up to me to empower them by helping them to understand the reasons behind their symptoms, and give them the information they require to stick to a healthier lifestyle and take back their health in the long term.

Because what really makes a difference to us all when we are adopting changes in our lives is: to be recognised for who we are, to feel understood, and to to be given the chance to regain power over our lives, as we travel on the journey to becoming a healthier version of ourselves.

Have you any thoughts on this? What has affected you the most or made the biggest difference to you when dealing with a health professional?

Health and Wellbeing, Interview, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, Wellness

Interview with Three Valley Vegans

Interview between Three Valley Vegans and myself.

When I took part in the Milnrow Yoga & Wellbeing Festival last weekend, I was approached by Elizabeth King from Three Valley Vegans to do an interview for their blog and newsletter, and also, to arrange a talk in Hebden Bridge for next year. I’m always extremely happy to do these events because I love getting out there to encourage the general population to eat more healthily and help everyone understand how easy it can actually be.

Although the majority of my client’s aren’t vegan, I’ve been vegan for over 5 years, and I love to share the health benefits of eating a diet higher in plant based foods. Just adding a few more fruits and vegetables into your diet can make a huge difference to wellbeing.

Here in the interview I talk about why I became vegan, why I became a nutritional therapist, why we become ill, why chronic disease is on the rise, how we can help our bodies to fight disease, and why we sometimes find it difficult to stick to a healthy eating regime. I’ve also added a link to the popular Chickpea Blondie recipe I take as a taster to events. It’s simple to make and healthy too.

This film available on Netflix is my initial motivation for becoming vegan – health, animals and environment.

Hope you enjoy both the recipe and the interview! Let me know what you think.

Here’s the link to the interview:

food, Health and Wellbeing, insomnia, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, pain management, sleep, stress, Uncategorised, Wellness

Are You On a Diet, Or is it a Fad?

I just had an experience that got me thinking …

My online food shop was delivered and the driver was helping me to unpack.

‘This is a lot of fruit and veg,’ he said.

‘Mmmm, yes it is.’ (In our house, we individually eat about 7-10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, which is the recommended amount for good health).

‘Are you on a diet,’ he said, ‘or is it a fad?’

‘No – nope, this is how we eat all the time.’

His jaw dropped.

I can’t read minds, but I could sense that he thought I was one strange cookie.

I thought it was funny as it happened, but now a little while later, I’m wondering why it’s considered ‘a fad’ (for ‘fad’ read ‘weird’) to have lots of fruits and vegetables as a regular part of your diet.

If my shopping had been full of processed foods – cakes, biscuits, crisps, white bread, sausages, ready meals etc – he wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. It’s certainly a sad state of affairs that a week’s worth of processed foods, to him, would be considered a ‘normal diet’.

I don’t think he’s alone in this. Over the years I’ve had lot of comments made on my food choices by cashiers as I pass my shopping through the checkout.

I wonder what’s happening to us as a society that we see foods containing lots of artificial additives and sweeteners as the norm (while some of the ingredients are not even recognisable as real foods), yet if we eat a diet of simple, fresh produce it’s seen as questionable behaviour?

If eating ‘junk’ is a normal way of eating, no wonder we are witnessing a rise in chronic diseases, including bowel cancer in the young. This has been found to be directly related to lifestyle factors (including ‘worsening diet‘), and is worrying for the next generations, who will pick up the eating habits of their parents. I wonder if eventually our young will even know what a fresh fruit or vegetable looks like? We already have a situation where many young people can’t identify what animal particular meat products come from. We are becoming increasingly dislocated from our natural food sources.

It’s definitely time we start rethinking the way we look at food.

I like the fact that I am in a position through my work to help people to learn the benefits of healthier eating and guide them to make better choices. It can take a little time to get your head around it, but often my clients are surprised at how easy it can be. Understanding the purpose of healthy eating is the main thing (people don’t realise there is a link between diet and issues such as insomnia, anxiety, joint pains, stress, fatigue, depression etc) which is where I come in as a nutritional therapist.

If you don’t eat a lot of fresh produce, why not make a start by adding a portion of fruit or veg to your day today?

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